Reindeer Ornaments

Growing up, I have memories of my mom make a bunch of ornaments for our themed tree. One of my favorites she made were these Reindeer ornaments


They were my favorite because she would hide chocolate Kisses inside 


This year I made some for my tree and some to give away. I love these little deer they fill me with Christmas memories from my childhood, and memories of my dear mother who always filled every holiday with cheer!


I used my mom's pattern but tried to put my own spin on them by adding some color...

HERE ARE THE INSTRUCTIONS

1) Cut plastic canvas 10x10 squares


2) Thread yarn back and forth top to bottom


3) Sew two sides of two together with the yarn


4) Sew two sides of the bottom one, to two sides of the third piece together.


5) There will be two sides of two squares left untouched. Sew around all four edges separately (don't sew them together like you did with the past sides) so there will be an opening for the mouth.


6) Add all the fun stuff! Some antlers made from pipe cleaner (I just poke them through and twist them), some goggly eyes, and a fuzzy nose (I hot glue both the eyes and nose)! 

7) Add Chocolate Kisses for extra fun!

No time to craft this year? but you still want some to give these Kiss Reindeer to teachers or neighbors, add to your stocking stuffers, or decorate your tree with?



Head over to KimsHoppinCrafts on Etsy. My mom has finished sets you can buy and soon she will have kits with everything you need to make these. These are easy enough to make with the kids and would make the perfect family christmas craft to do together :)


Recommended Kid Toys - Ages 1-2


Christmas is around the corner, and so I am going to let you know what toys are a hit at our house
This is like water colors, only without the mess! The kids like this better because their little uncoordinated strokes, still make big color. I like it because it is reusable! That's right, when it dry's you can paint it again.
The kids LOVE this, they could go in circles all day through the tunnel and the Tent is also fun for them to play in. I like it because when they are done it all folds down flat for storage, no bulky toys taking up space around the house

My kids loved this toy when they were really little and just bearly learning to play with toys, and they haven't grown out of it yet, as they grow they get excited about putting the right animal in or the right color, and counting

My middle boy used to sleep with this every night, he just loved the music and the light.



You can never go wrong with their favorite toy from their favorite movie or show (which is cars in our house) Not only will you get big smiles and squeals when they open their present but they also will play with the toy every day!




8 Books My Toddlers Love

Kids for Christmas - Toddlers for Christmas
I love this guide for buying Christmas gifts. It gives me a good outline to follow, and makes it so my kids get the same amount of stuff. So if you are looking for "SOMETHING TO READ" for your adorable TODDLER, here are my suggestions...

books for toddlers - 8 books my kids love
1- Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
Fun and silly way to teach colors to kids.

2- Pete the Cat and His Four Groovie Buttons by Eric Litwin 
Great way to introduce kids to numbers and the idea of subtraction. My kids love the to dance and sing to the silly song.

3- Octopus Opposites by Stella Blackstone 
This is a wonderful book to introduce kids to opposites. My kids also loved the art work

4- Hello is this Grandma? by Iam Whybrow 
There are three reason my kids love this book 1) it has ANIMALS 2) it is about talking on the PHONE 3) there is a BIRTHDAY in this book. They get so excited every time

5- Thanking God for You by Alice Greenspan 
This is a lovely poem that probably sums up how much you love your child, a good book to sit down and have snuggles. You can also personalize it by adding a picture of your child at the end.

6- Beep! Beep! Beepity-Beep! 
This book has it all, a fun song, colors, counting, and TRUCKS.

7- Llama Llama Red Pajama Anna Dewdney 
This cleverly written book is my kids favorite, they love the whole llama llama series but this one if my favorite, if you haven't read it yet, give it a try!

8- Peek-a-Moo by Marie Torres Cimarusti 
Babies love the peek a boo fun of this book and toddlers love how it is interactive and they get to make all the animal sounds.


And I have them all here for you to check out on Amazon! My favorite way to shop, no screaming kids or loading and unloading them into the car and stores.


8 ways I got my kids to drink more WATER

I don't know about your kids but my kids love chocolate milk, pop, soda, punch and their favorite drink is JUICE. The last thing my kids want is water, and it has been a battle at our house for years, but lately it has been a battle I have been winning and I wanted to share my success and tips that might help you and your kids choose a healthier beverage.



1) Don't introduce other drinks into their regular diet- The kids that we delayed giving sugary drinks to, have been more accepting of water. I don't plan on never letting the younger kids drink sugary drinks but I think I will wait until they are older and have more self control and understanding.
2) Dilute what they are already drinking- With my oldest he could cry for hours for Juice, so I felt that diluting his juice was a good compromise. It also helped the wallet, only having to buy half the juice.
3) Let your stash run out- If my kids know there is another option in the house, they will throw a fit until they get their way, but if they can go to the fridge and the pantry and see that it is all gone, they are still sad but they accept water without a fight
4) Let special drinks be for special places- These days they only have Chocolate Milk when we visit their Oma, and they can only have Pop when we take them out to eat, which is only twice a month. If they ask for them through out the week I remind them the next time they get to have that drink.
5) Give them water to drink before they get to thirsty- I notice if I give them water before they ask me for a drink they will take it, but if I wait until they are thirsty and asking for a drink, they are already to irritable to negotiate.
6) Try different temperatures of water- My husband and I like our water different and so do our kids, it took me awhile to think about this, but when I gave my kids a few options I realized my oldest boy will drink more water if it is cold and my younger boy likes it better at room temperature.
7) Get a new exciting cup or water bottle that is only for water- When ever I was using a new water bottle or mug, my kids would be intrigued and want to drink from it. So I went and got some fun water bottles and told the kids they were only for water. Them instead of asking them what to drink, I would ask them what cup they would want, and they would go for the cool water bottles that we pre-determined were only for water
8) Let them pour their own water- I went to my sons preschool and noticed he was drinking only water, I thought it might be because there was no other option. But I realized how much he enjoyed pouring it by himself from a pitcher. So I brought that idea home and let them pour water from a plastic measuring cup... it is working great

Hope one of these tips help. Comment if you have any tips on how to get kids to drink more water.

Halloween Costume Theme - Apple Family

My husband works for apple and we have more apple products in our house then we have people to use them. This was the perfect Family Costume Idea for us.


Here is our Apple Family, I am the iPhone 4S, my husband is Steve Jobs, my littlest is a iPod Nano, my oldest is the Shuffle and my brother joined us one night as an Apple Genius!



THESE WERE NO SEW COSTUMES
my secret I used a hot glue gun. For my outfit and the kids out fits. I bought the cheaspest plain material I could find at walmart, cut into a square and glued on the top and the sides together. THEN I cut an opening for our heads.

For the boys control buttons and my app's. I just used felt cut out each shape and glued it together, my husband enjoyed helping me make apps.

For my brother I just pinned a white felt apple to his blue shirt, printed off an image of the Genius badge and hot glued it on white string!

*I wanted to use this theme again this year, but the new IOS came out, so I would have to change all my apps, I think we will just save it for a few years, and then we can be RETRO apple products or if I wait longer maybe even VINTAGE

Messy fun 2

Cornstarch and water. This mixture is CRAZY. If you put a lot of pressure on it, it gets hard. But if your soft it goes liquid again. A must play for all kids.... And ADULTS! Not going to lie, my husband and I played with it for quite awhile after we put the kids to bed.

Carstens Cartoon - Hair Crimper

I found my hair crimper from when I was in Jr High, I was playing with it and it fascinated My oldest

Carstens Cartoon - Conversation with my 3 year old

My 3 year old has really started talking a lot, and it is so much fun to have conversations with him!
This one made me laugh ;)

Check back tomorrow for my 3 year olds explanation of what a hair crimper does!

Beans and a box

My idea was let the kids play with beans. But keep the house clean by putting them and the beans in a big box with some trucks to drive through the beans.
It was a great idea until the 3rd or 4th time playing when they decided to make it rain beans. And no box could contain that!

Top 6 Free Toddler Apps- tested by my toddlers

my husband works for apple and so we have more apple products than we have people in the house, and our kids can navigate the iPhones, iPads, and iPods better than Grandma!

Top Free Toddler Apps

So from our iPad to yours, with love, here are our TOP 6

endless alphabet review
The ENDLESS ALPHABET app was recommended to me by a friend on facebook. This quickly made it to the top of my list. There are a list of things I love about this.
1. Teaches them puzzle skills
2. Teaches them the shape of CAPITAL alphabet letters
3. Teaches them the sound of each letter
4. Teaches them the meaning of big words, broadening their vocabulary
5. All the animations are so CUTE AND FUN

ABC Alphabet Phonics-Preschool Kids Game Free App Review
This ABC Alphabet Phonics-Preschool Kids Game Free App, really needs to have a shorter name ;) but I do love this app because it is very customizable
1. I could customize it to do LOWER CASE letters, a lot of alphabet games only do capital letters, but they will see more lower case letters in the reading so they need to know those too
2. I customized the prompts with my own voice, so when the kids play it they smile and giggle and say "Mommy!!!"

Shape Puzzle(Deluxe)-Kids Favorite Word Learning Game Review

Shape Puzzle(Deluxe)-Kids Favorite Word Learning Game, is a winner here, let me tell you why
1) It is a great PUZZLE game, my youngest son at 18 month old learned to do puzzles on this app and impressed everyone who watched
2) It taught my kids a lot of vocabulary that they could use, and helped them communicate better with me. I was so impressed! I think this single reason should count as a hundred reasons to get it ;)

Ballonimals Review
Ballonimals Lite is not educational but quite fun! The Lite version only does one animal, but my kids don't care, they will make this green dinosaur over and over again and giggle when he pops ;)

Toddler's Seek & Find: My Zoo Animals Review
Toddler's Seek & Find: My Zoo Animals. This app is a fun interactive scene, you just have to try it ;)

Toddler Puzzle Shapes Review
Toddler Puzzle Shapes I love the background music to this app
1. helped the kids with PUZZLE skills
2 helped them identify and name SHAPES My oldest knew all his shapes by 2 years old

All these Apps are for free with the option to pay for upgrades. I just have the free ones on my phone, because I am to cheap to buy them.

Let me know if I missed any amazing apps! comment your favorite app and I will have my kids test them ;) ;)

Ground Turkey Stroganoff-with a kick!

I took two of my favorite recipes, combined them and then made a few substitutions.... turkey for ground beef and greek yogurt for sour cream. Then I added a surprise ingredient that really gives your stroganoff a pleasing kick of flavor....are you ready..... I added...... Relish!


Get my RECIPE HERE

I love using my Magic Recipe for many reasons, but one of my new favorite reasons is the have a rewards program, where they reward me just for using their website!

Messy Fun-1

My Boys LOVE messy play and this was a fun new one we tried.

Cornstarch and shaving cream. I put both of them in a pan. They enjoyed feeling each separate and then mixing them together.

It was messy but well worth the fun and memories. I even had fun feeling them together. I've never just played with shaving cream or cornstarch so it was new and fun for ME too!

Missing the snow?- Kid Fun

Are you or your kids missing playing in the snow? My kids aren't we have saved up paper from the paper shredder and it snowed in our house. It took me about 30 minutes to clean up during nap time. Those little papers can get in every little crack.

I would do it again though, just to hear those precious giggles and squeals of joy!

Kid Fun - Snow inside

A Mother's Resume

Mothers Day has new meaning as a mother of 3 young kids. Today I was thinking about all the skills I have acquired as I've become a mother. No job or training could have prepared me for the job of a mother, it is at times the hardest but mostly wonderful job I have ever had!

This would be my RESUME if I was applying for my current position as mother



 Hope you enjoyed the humor! Happy MOTHERS DAY to all you mothers out there (especially my mom, mother in law, and my grandmas).

Let me know what would your resume look like ;)

Tape Roads - Kid Fun

The great thing about this road is its easy to clean up and if the kids get bored just go tape a different part of their room or different part of the house and it will spark their interest again.


Have I ever mentioned how talented my boys are at making all sorts of vehicle noises!

Cinco de Mayo - Recycled Piñata

We had a lovely Cinco de Mayo.
And the DAY OF Cinco de Mayo. We decided we had to have a piñata for that evening. We used empty cereal boxes. Some leftover tissue paper from a baby shower, and some painting tape from when we painted the bathroom.


Filled it with candy we had around the house and paper from our paper shredder to mimic confetti ;)

It was fun to make, fun to break, and even fun to clean up, and it didn't cost us anything.


We try to make some part of each day a special day and holidays help us do that.

So find a reason to celebrate and make yourself a piñata!

Pudding Painting

I did pudding painting in kindergarten and remember loving this. I hope my kids have just as fun doing it. 
 All you need is paper and pudding

It is also a great way to practice SHAPES, NUMBERS, & LETTERS


I know they love clean up (licking the pudding off their fingers ;)


My niece asks me every time she comes if we can pudding paint again.

Green Grass

This quote hangs in my house. 


I went through a phase in my life where I was spending my day thinking about the future, when the diapers would end, when I would have my body to myself again (no more pregnancies, or breastfeeding), when my kids could be my dish washers, and take out the trash. 

I realized I was looking at the grass on the other side, and neglecting my grass. I decided it was time to appreciate my days and my nows. I told myself that every stage of my life can have green grass, if I just take the time to water it, and spend my time finding what I love in the day I am in.

Although I'm not perfect, I have seen positive changes in my life as I have been applying this concept in my life. This quote inspires me daily, maybe it could inspire you

click here for my design

Honey Mustard Mozzarella Chicken

My husband said, "I love this dinner, It makes me feel like I'm rich and dinning somewhere expensive"

Enough said! This is going to be a regular at our house ;)




The recipe is on MyRecipeMagic. Get the RECIPE HERE

One thing I love about this website is you can search for recipes with certain ingredients. It comes in handy when I buy something in bulk (like 5 lbs of ground turkey) and need some more dish ideas for ground turkey!


Gym mom

I never thought I would be a "gym mom"... The mom that goes to the gym everyday to work out and drops her kids off in the child care room. I thought those moms were a bit self absorbed and how selfish of them to use their time on themselves and not with their kids.

Well my perspective has changed! This winter I had my third baby (a beautiful girl, to add to our two boys.) That made 3 kids ages 3 and under. I felt like a super mom! 3 young kids was easy! The first two weeks were a breeze...... but then things started to build. I had a bit of sleep deprivation, my oldest unpotty trained himself, my middle child entered his Terrible Two Tantrums, the snow had kept us trapped in doors, and slowly I began falling behind on all the house chores. I found that the stress was building and getting worse everyday. This is when I decided to become a "GYM MOM" let me tell you the benefits.

1) An hour away from the stress each day really helps the rest of my days run smoother, and keeps the crazy at bay.

2) Exercise is helping my body regain the strength I lost while I was pregnant and I am finding I have more energy and I don't get worn out as quickly as I used to.

3) Exercise is also a great stress reliever and is a healthy way to release it.

4) Not only is my body healthier but its looking better as well. (as shallow as this is to say, it does help my confidence)

5) AND my kids love it! They love getting out of the house to play They ask if they can go and run to the door when we get there. And my baby girl I feed her before I go in and she sleeps the whole time. She doesn't even know I'm gone.

So if any of you are in the same position as me, investing in a gym membership is the best thing I've done for myself this year.

Carstens Cartoon 3

This one made me laugh so hard when I heard this come from my dads mouth


Back in my pageant days I was trying to watch my figure and this was my dad's response to me saying I had to watch what I eat.

And to be clear Merl is no one person but a collage of people ;) and if one of your quotes come out of Merl's mouth it is because it is funnier coming from Merl ;)

How We Share the Love

A friend wrote this blog post 

She is the mother of that adorable baby! I love her blog because she just tells it how it is! Her latest post was How can you love your kids equally? 

"I love chocolate all the same amount but I love Rolo's more since they have Carmel, (yes, I did just compare kids to chocolate)"

I thought this was a great question. I too had the same questions and worries a few years ago when I got pregnant with my second child. In fact, I had a whole list of worries...
  • What if I didn't love the 2nd child as much as I loved currently loved my 1st child
  • What if I loved the 2nd child more and the 1st child was neglected
  • How can I love them at the same time
  • Maybe neither of them will have my full love because my love will be split in half 
But all those fears were put aside when I had my baby. I had that instant connection with my second child.  For those who haven't had a child, this is how it feels for me. One second I'm just a pregnant lady and then the next second the baby is born, and I'm it's mother. I have never met this child before, I don't even know their name, or their personality but I have this extreme desire, to protect, provide, and LOVE this child. It is the fastest instant connection one will ever feel. It has happened like that with all my children and I have never needed to worry about if I loved them.

So I guess I could say just have faith that it will happen like that, but I'm sure those of you out there who haven't experienced it would like some examples. 

I'm sure everyone has relationships out there where you love two or more people in different ways but couldn't choose between them. Besides my children, I have my siblings, and my parents.

PARENTS- I love both my parents the same amount, but not in the same way.

If I want help making a sandwich, I want my mom
If I want help changing the oil in my car, I want my dad

If I am sad and need comfort, I want my mom
If I am stressed and need advice, I want my dad

If I want someone coaching me through an activity, I want my dad
If I want someone to encourage me through an activity, I want my mom.

So in different situations I would favor one parent over the other, but if I was asked to give up one of my parents I couldn't choose because I truly need both of them in my life, and there would be a void if one of them was missing.

SYBLINGS- I have two brothers and one sister. I am the oldest, but for the sake of keeping my brothers apart I will call one big brother and the other little brother, and they can guess which one they are ;)

If I was going to go see a movie I would want to take my big brother
If I was going to go shopping I would want to take my sister
If I was going to play a game I would ask my little brother first

If I needed unconditional love I would go to my big brother
If I needed help understanding someone else's point of view I would go to my sister
If I needed someone to have a good laugh with I would go to my little brother

my big brother provides stability
my sister provides balance
my little brother provides peace

They each bring something different into my life and in specific situations I could choose a favorite, but overall as my siblings I couldn't chose just one. I love all of them.

ONE MORE EXAMPLE....
I love pickles and carmel equally but not in the same way
I like pickles on my hamburger and
I like carmel on my ice-cream,
AND
I wouldn't want to eat only hamburger or only ice cream. 
They both have their place in my life
One is for when I'm hungry for a meal, 
One is for when I'm craving some sweets
SEE, Equal but different. YUM YUM

I've learned Love doesn't split, Love grows. 


Once I knew that I would love all my kids the same, I was worried if my kids would know my love for them and not feel less loved. I've worked extra hard in showing my children how to love each other and share that love, in hopes that they can see I love them as equal as they love each other.